As we approach the end of International Merlot month with #MerlotMe I've made it through a variety of merlot with some pairings. Today I'm sharing merlot from Duckhorn Vineyards, Markham Vineyards and Northstart Winery. I'd love to hear what merlot wines you celebrated with this month and what your recommendations are.
2015 Markham Vineyards Merlot Napa Valley
ABV 14.6% SRP $26.99
Markham Vineyards is celebrating their 40th year and 35th wine release.
Founded in 1978 by Bruce Markham and was a winery originally established by Jean Laurent during the days of the Gold Rush. The winery owns 350 acre across a number of Napa Valley's premier winegrowing sites each lending their own characteristics to the wines.
Markham Vineyards owns about 350 acres in Napa Valley. This merlot is sourced from a number of their vineyards in Yountville, Oak Knoll and Calistoga. Each vineyards lends their own traits with Yountville lending bing cherry aromas, Oak Knoll provides the sour cherry notes and Caslistoga gives more of the jammy fruit flavors. It’s a blend of 86% merlot, 12 % cabernet sauvignon and 2% petite syrah. 100% fermented in stainless steel and 15 months aged in barrel of which 28% is new oak. Dark ruby. Vanilla and dark chocolate on the nose. Cherry flavors with chewy tannins.
Pairing: I paired this wine with a sausage tomato tortellini soup.
The following 3 wines are from Duckhorn Vineyards located in Napa Valley. The winery just last year celebrated their 40th anniversary and has been showcasing their prize merlots since 1979. Their grapes are sourced from 7 different vineyard sites each lending their own unique characteristics to each bottle. Founder, Dan Duckhorn, best describes some of the reasons why merlot is so special "I liked the softness, the seductiveness, the color, the fact that it went with a lot of different foods; It seemed to me to be a wonderful wine to just enjoy. I became enchanted with Merlot."
2016 Decoy Merlot Sonoma County
ABV 13.9% SRP $25
Made up of 97% merlot with 3% added cabernet sauvignon. It’s aged 100% in French oak with 40% new and 60% neutral. A nicely balanced wine with smooth tannins, blueberries, cherry and vanilla notes.
ABV 14.5% SRP $56
Grown in Duckhorn’s estate vineyards and additional independent growers. Made of 85% merlot, 12% cabernet sauvignon, 2% cabernet franc and 1% petit verdot. This wine shows elegance with dark fruit flavors as well as juicy red fruits. Notes of baking spices with vanilla. Well integrated tannins with a silky finish.
2015 Duckhorn Merlot Three Palms Vineyard Napa Valley
ABV 14.7% SRP $98
The Three Palms Vineyard is their single vineyard merlot and is the "crown jewel" of their portfolio. They finally acquired this land in 2015 after having sourced grapes from there for years. Named after the three palm trees on site this wine is made of 91% merlot, 7% cabernet sauvignon, 1.5% petit verdot and ½ percent of cabernet franc. This wine and the 2014 vintage was actually named "Wine of the Year" by Wine Spectator in 2017. Aged 18 months in French oak of which 75% is new and 25% neutral. A complex and intense merlot rich of dark berries, plums, cassis, spice and cocoa. Silky tannins and a long lasting finish to be savored long after the last sip.
Pairing: It just so happened that I celebrated my birthday last week so my mother came and made me some amazing stuffed peppers and I thought it was the perfect opportunity to try this special wine.
2013 Northstar Merlot Columbia Valley
ABV 14.5% SRP $41
*These wines were provided as samples, but opinions are my own.